Welcoming a new baby into the world is such an exciting time for everybody involved. It is truly the time for a fresh start; a new life in your house that can change your attitudes and values from their first breath.
There are so many gadgets and products available for new parents and parents-to-be that it’s hard to know where to start. There are, however, essentials that you will need to purchase that will never change their core function, no matter how much the style and trend may differ over time.
Cots and Cribs
In days gone by, cots were made out of either a metal or wooden barred frame. They were sturdy enough to take the sleep of many a child, as families were generally bigger and had less money to buy new products for the arrival of each baby. Now we have every type of cot and crib imaginable – we usually start on moses baskets or co-sleeping cribs to keep our newborns close to us and safely confined, and move on to bigger, more spacious sleepers, some of which can be constructed into a toddler bed and beyond at a later date. They can be made out of a variety of materials from plastic to wicker and the more traditional aforementioned wood and metal, and are readily available to suit most budgets. If you are buying second-hand, which is a great thing to do to save on money before the new arrival, make sure that you buy a new mattress for your baby to prevent the risk of SIDS.
Most hospitals nowadays won’t let you leave unless you have a safe and secure car seat to take your newborn home in. The first car seat that you buy will be pretty standard; it’s only when they get to a certain weight or over a certain amount of months in age that you can move on to the more advanced ones. Have a look around and search the best baby car seat reviews to find one that will suit your needs and your budget; you can get ISOfix bases to help you put in the car seat in both quickly and safely, and you may find that you can buy one as a part of a travel system, so it will be able to fit onto the top of your pram for ease when popping in and out of the car. The big brand names are big brands for a reason; they have been trusted down the decades, and if a baby product is known to be good then word spreads exceedingly quickly between parents.
Playmats have advanced so much since the original ones were created. No longer are they simple coloured mini-duvets for your little ones to lie on; they now incorporate sounds, colours and lights, as well as so many other stimulants to keep your baby happy and help them learn as they play. Look for ones that have a mix of both colour and black and white, as the stark contrast in colours can be great for them to focus on. If you purchase some links to hang toys and other interesting things from, you can build on the base of your playmat and turn it into something they can play with from birth up to a year old, rather than sticking to a few months where they’re lying on their back and can’t really roll over to get away from it in the beginning.
Buying a new pram is just like buying a new car. The salesperson will be reeling off different specs like you’re about to invest in a Ferrari, but take just as much note and listen as intently as if you were about to buy a supercar – this is something that is going to help ease your day and last you for the long run. You can models that grow with your child, and most do this; standard foldaway pushchairs are mainly for runarounds when they reach the toddler stage. Make sure you get one that fits with your everyday life; if you are our in the countryside and spend a lot of time going off-road and down little tracks which aren’t particularly well-paved, you may be better getting a three-wheeler pram with bigger wheels to accommodate for this, whereas a four-wheeled pram with dainty wheels will suit just fine for city living. It’s something that very much has to be tried and tested before you know what will adjust to your lifestyle, and if you know somebody who has a make and model that you are coveting then ask if you could borrow it for a quick walk around the block to see how easy it is to navigate. Take into consideration things like how far the handlebars can adjust for your height, whether the seat is forward or rear facing, how big the basket underneath is for shopping and bags and most importantly how well it will fit into your car – you don’t want to purchase a big fancy pram only for you not to be able to take it out anywhere away from your house.
It will get to the point where you need to put your baby into something to feed them. You could start off with a little support chair just to aid them in sitting up, like a Bumbo, but eventually when you start to wean them you will find that your lap or sitting on the floor just won’t cut it. Find one that, like a good pram, is easily foldable and can be stored away easily. Look for ones that can be wiped down quickly and hygienically, as food can get into any cracks and crevices and start to go mouldy there if not correctly cleaned. There are simple designs at IKEA which are very highly rated, and simple too which is indicative that they don’t need to be anything fancy to do the job and function well.